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[Saturday Reads] A Wild Compilation of Collective Nouns


Fats here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.


This week, I’m excited to share 7 unique picture books that could be used as text set for teaching kids about collective nouns and animal groups!


There is a Tribe of Kids

Written and illustrated by Lane Smith
Published by Roaring Brook Press (2016)

You know that feeling when you see a book by one of your favorite children’s authors? Well, I got really excited when I saw a copy of this book at the library because Lane Smith does a fine job with his books. I first became aware of his craft when Myra introduced me to The Stinky Cheese Man, a collaborative project that Lane Smith did with Jon Scieszka. I adored Princess Hyacinth and, of course, Grandpa Green (Caldecott Honor).


There is a Tribe of Kids follows a nameless boy and his adventures. He meets different creatures along the way and eventually finds his place in the world.


The text is short but the illustrations make up for it. Whether you’re looking at a two-page spread or individual panels, you’ll appreciate the art if you’re a fan of Lane Smith’s work.


Interestingly, this book has sparked controversy among librarians. Read this article by School Library Journal, posted on July, to find out what the controversy was about. While I didn’t see the book the way some of these librarians did, I wasn’t too crazy about There is a Tribe of Kids as I initially felt before reading the book. Nevertheless, I think the kids would enjoy reading about animal groups and seeing animal drawings.


An Ambush of Tigers

Written by Betsy R. Rosenthal
Illustrated by Jago
Published by Millbrook Press (2015)

I love tigers, so it wasn’t hard for me to love this book at all. I mean, just look at that cover! Anyway, An Ambush of Tigers makes use of clever lines to highlight a variety of animal groups. The first thing this book asks is this: Do you ever wonder / what animals do / when they gather in groups / of more than two?


What follows is a series of questions about what animals could be like when they are in groups. The short rhymes are fun to read and Jago’s illustrations capture Betsy Rosenthal’s words in the most adorable — and literal! — way!


What really got me was the glossary found at the end of the book. It contains a short description of each term used to describe animal groups, and then asks readers to guess why that word was used for a particular group. For example,

prickle (porcupines) a small, sharp point, such as a thorn
or what you feel if you touch one

Brilliant, I say!


A Tower of Giraffes

Written and illustrated by Anna Wright
Published by Charlesbridge (2015)

A Tower of Giraffes inspired me to find other books about collective nouns. I also fell in love with the cover so I took the book home from the library the first chance I got.


I simply adore the delicate watercolor illustrations! Some were combined with fabric and wallpaper cutouts. This art style reflects Anna Wright’s love for interior design.


So far we’ve seen two very different books about collective nouns. What makes A Tower of Giraffes unique? In addition to the name of the animal group, each page gives a brief description about the animals — but not in the way that you think! Anna Wright gives it a twist by describing the social behavior of each group. Whether you’re after the artwork or the animal facts, you’ll have enjoying flipping through this book!

A Shiver of Sharks
A Crackle of Crickets
A Filth of Starlings

Written, illustrated, and published by
PatrickGeorge (2012)

It’s amazing how search engine works. I was searching our online catalog for picture books about sharks, and I came upon PatrickGeorge’s A Shiver of Sharks. This led me to find two more of his books that follow a similar theme.



Similar to Jago’s work in An Ambush of Tigers, PatrickGeorge’s illustrations in this series are literal representations of collective nouns. PatrickGeorge made good use of the spread, making each page a visual feast!


Hope you find this post helpful!
May you have a productive weekend!

Fats is the Assistant Manager for Circulation Services at the Wayne County Public Library in Wooster, Ohio. She considers herself a reader of all sorts, although she needs to work on her non-fiction reading. Fats likes a good mystery but is not too fond of thrillers. She takes book hoarding seriously and enjoys collecting bookmarks and tote bags. When she is not reading, Fats likes to shop pet apparel for her cat Penny (who absolutely loathes it).

1 comment on “[Saturday Reads] A Wild Compilation of Collective Nouns

  1. Very interesting use of names of groups!


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